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The setting is this: you are completely alone, standing knee deep in the tailout of a perfect trout pool, high in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. The particular fish you’re targeting is rising in rhythm to rafts of mayfly duns floating downstream. You’re trying hard to remain calm while threading 5X tippet onto a crippled mayfly pattern. The sound of elk bugling in close proximity stirs you from your reverie and causes you to pause, look up and soak in your surroundings. Craggy 12,000 foot tall granite peaks ring your valley in all directions while mule deer graze silently in the valley floor. As the scene unfolds you take a deep breath, tighten your now-finished knot and sigh, saying to yourself, “I can’t believe this is all mine!” This is El Rancho Pinoso and, yes, it is all yours.

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